NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Ghislaine Maxwell, jet-setting socialite The man who once lived with royals, presidents and billionaires was brought into a New York courtroom on Tuesday in prison uniform and awaiting sentencing for helping financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls His ankles were closed.
The sentencing in New York is the culmination of a prosecution that described how the power couple pretended and then exploited their wealth and dominant ties to woo vulnerable girls as young as 14.
The hearing was likely to be lengthy as lawyers battled over what length of sentence federal sentencing guidelines should recommend, along with other aspects of the law. At some point, Maxwell will have a chance to speak, as do five women who say they were sexually abused by Epstein with Maxwell’s help.
Maxwell, wearing a blue prison uniform and a white mask in line with coronavirus rules, sat quietly during the first hour of sentencing hearings as lawyers debated the law. At least three of his siblings were sitting in a row behind him. Most of the others in the crowded court were members of the media.
Several women who testified against Maxwell or issued statements before sentencing were also in court. Two of them – Elizabeth Stein and Sarah Ransom – spoke to reporters outside.
“Today is a day I didn’t think would happen, so that’s a blessing for me. it really is. And I’ve prayed so hard and for so long for this moment,” Ransom said.
“It would be perfect to speak my statements and put him in the room to listen,” Stein said.
Prosecutors said Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 While awaiting trial, he sexually abused children hundreds of times in more than a decade, and could not have done so without the help of Maxwell, his longtime partner and lifelong girlfriend.
“Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly violent. She was a calculated, sophisticated and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and framed them for sexual abuse,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
In December, a jury convicted Maxwell. sex trafficking, taking a minor to participate in illegal sex acts and two charges of conspiracy. Prosecutors say he deserves 30 to 55 years in prison. The probation department has recommended a tenure of 20 years.
Maxwell, 60, has denied abusing anyone. Her attorneys told US District Judge Alison J. Nathan has been asked to serve a sentence of not more than five years.
“Witnesses in the trial testified about Ms. Maxwell’s convenience of Epstein’s abuse, but Epstein was always the central figure: Epstein was the mastermind, Epstein was the prime abuser, and Epstein planned the crimes for his own personal satisfaction,” he said. Wrote in a court. filing.
Epstein and Maxwell’s associations with some of the world’s most famous people were not a major part of the test, but mentions of friends such as Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Britain’s Prince Andrew reveal how the couple tried to impress their victim. Take advantage of your connection.
Over the past 17 years, several women have accused Epstein of abusing her. Many described Maxwell as acting as a madame, who recruited her to give Epstein a massage.
However, the lawsuit revolved around the allegations from a handful of women.
Four testified that they were abused at Epstein’s mansions in Florida, New York, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Three were identified in court To protect their privacy only by their first name or pseudonym: Jane, a television actress; Kate, a former UK model; and Caroline, now a mother recovering from drug addiction. The fourth was Annie Farmer, who, after speaking publicly, identified herself in court by her real name.
He described how Maxwell charmed him with conversations and gifts, promising that Epstein could use his wealth and connections to help him fulfill his dreams.
Then, he testified, she persuaded him to give Epstein a massage that turned sexually and played it normally.
Carolyn testified that she was one of several underprivileged teens who lived near Epstein’s Florida home in the early 2000s and were given massages in exchange for 100 bills that prosecutors described as “a pyramid of abuse.” took the offer.
Maxwell made all the arrangements, Caroline told the jury, even though she knew the girl was only 14 at the time.
The allegations against Epstein first surfaced publicly in 2005. He pleaded guilty to sex charges in Florida and served 13 months in prison, a work-release program most of which was criticized as liberal as part of a deal. Later, he was required to register as a sex offender.
In the years that followed, several women sued Epstein for the alleged abuse. One, Virginia Giuffre, claimed that Epstein and Maxwell also pressured her to have sex with other powerful men, including Prince Andrew. All of them denied the charges, and Giuffre eventually settled the case against Andrew out of court.
Federal prosecutors in New York restarted the case against Epstein in 2018 after stories from the Miami Herald brought new attention to his crimes. He was arrested in 2019, but committed suicide a month later.
Eleven months after his death, Maxwell was arrested at the New Hampshire estate. An American, British and French citizen, he has since been in a federal prison in New York City, as his lawyers repeatedly criticize his treatment, saying he was placed under suicide watch a few days before sentencing. Prosecutors say claims about the prison have been exaggerated and that Maxwell is treated better than other inmates.
His lawyers also struggled to get him convicted on the grounds of jury misconduct.
Days after the verdict, a jury member gave a media interview in which he revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child – something he had not told the court during jury selection. Maxwell’s lawyers said she deserves a new trial. A judge disagreed.
At least eight women have submitted letters to the judge, describing the sexual abuse they said they endured to meet Maxwell and Epstein.
In letters to the judge, six of Maxwell’s seven surviving siblings pleaded for leniency. Maxwell’s fellow prisoner also submitted a letter detailing how Maxwell has helped educate other prisoners over the past two years.
Anne Holvey and Philip Maxwell, his eldest siblings, wrote that his relationship with Epstein began shortly after the death of his father, British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, in 1991.
He said that Robert Maxwell subjected his daughter to “often rapid mood swings, overwhelming anger and disapproval”.
“This made her very vulnerable to abusive and powerful men, who would be able to take advantage of her innate good nature,” he wrote.
Prosecutors called the transfer of Maxwell’s blame on Epstein “absurd and offensive.”
“Maxwell was an adult who made his own choices,” he wrote to the court. “He chose to sexually abuse several underage girls. He chose to conspire with Epstein for years, acting as a partner in the crime, and causing catastrophic harm to vulnerable victims. His involvement in a comprehensive child abuse scheme He should be held accountable for the disturbing role.”